positive thoughts on spirited children - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-12-2005, 03:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This post is not posing a question. These are just some thoughts that I wanted to write, so I figured, why not write them here, where someone else might bounce some of their own interesting thoughts back at me for further contemplation.

The intensity of how my evening went tonight has got me thinking deeply about my spririted dd (3 1/2), Rylee. I won't get into the specifics of the evening (I think many of you have been there before and don't need to hear the sink-in-your-gut detailed description). Suffice it to say, she was suffering through some very strong feelings and felt completely out of control. Since she's fallen asleep, my head's been spinning with thoughts on what this level of intensity can mean for my child as a person. And then a shining moment of clarity dawned on me. It can be an amazing gift because being able to feel and experience life and the world so deeply enables her to express that core connection to a feeling, and this is the very quality that builds the most awe-inspiring artistic expressions that touch us at our core. Suddenly, I see it for the beautiful, beautiful gift that it is. Channeling this ability in the right ways could result in her creating something unique that connects people to one another on a deeply personal level.

Now our path seems clear.

There have been times when we play out her feelings through role play and that has often been an effective way to express her feelings. I'm thinking we should do more of that and seek out artistic expressions of all kinds. And, together, we'll attempt the same avenues of expression with our whole range of feelings. After all, this child of mine is renowned for bursting into song or dance at any given moment. Of course! It's all so clear now. She is an artist! This is an extraoridinary gift.

I'm going to go snuggle up with her now.

- di
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Old 05-12-2005, 06:26 AM
 
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Dear D,
I always resisted calling my daughter by any other than her name, although by many books definitions, she would be labelled "spirited" or "high needs". I do not want to label her in any way. She is a joy to me, even though life with her is strenous, because she is soooo intense. I do not want to go into the details of the evening either.... BTDT as you say ... But yes, I totally agree with you, I think art is such a powerful key when powerful feelings are surfacing. It is so healing, it helps communicating with kids on their own ground, it helps us adults reconnect with our own childhood...
Thanks for starting this thread...
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Old 05-12-2005, 09:10 AM
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I've often thought that spirited children take a really big bite out of life. They do feel things deeply, they are aware and curious, always questioning and active, and I suspect my son will be extremely successful someday...in whatever he pursues. His energy level, intelligence, lively nature and sparkle are sure to serve him well!
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Old 05-12-2005, 10:49 AM
 
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Passion. I see in my spirited boy the zest and passion that will drive him to find experiences in his life that will be fulfilling to him. I see his passion in the little things -- when I pick him up from preschool, he does a little jig when he sees me, while his classmates remain sitting and calm.

I see it in the big things -- how he literally drinks in the information from all his senses as he visits his favorite places, like the aquarium or the zoo or the children's museum.

I do think that one's capacity to feel sorrow about the small things (yesterday, it was that there was no clean underwear with small cars printed on them) is pretty directly proportional to one's ability to feel happy.

Karla
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Old 05-12-2005, 11:09 AM
 
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My 11 year old is a spirited child...as a toddler she was quite a handful but the most fun, delightful person ever!

She just LOVES life..she takes it all in great big gulps and it's all good....she has more fun than anyone I know and even though she is ultra sensitive and gets down sometimes she picks herself up and delights in something new fairly quickly...she doesn't have time to wallow or hold grudges...she's an awesome child.

My youngest goes to kinder musik...there are 2 little boys there that I would definitely call spirited...I asked my daughter yesterday which kids she thought were the cutest(she tagged along with us) and she said the 2 boys...I said "why" and she said "because they were having the most fun"..and she was right! Their mom's seemed overwhelmed and flustered at times(I so get taht) but I hope they also see what treasures they have!
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Old 05-12-2005, 12:30 PM
 
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My husband and I always say the qualities in our spirited girls will serve them well as adults, although those same qualities can be frustrating in the preschool years. ( we remind each other of this fact often)
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Old 05-12-2005, 01:05 PM
 
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Seeing my little girl, not quite three, outright shout at a full grown man over six feet tall, or a group of adults all against her sometimes makes me very proud.

I know I should teach her to "be nice" and "handle her negative emotions", and some people even think she should be taught to do what she's told.

But I kinda feels like she kick's @$$.

You've gotta admit it takes spunk to stand up to someone 6 times your size, or a group of adults when you're a child.

I feel like she's never going to just go along with something she doesn't agree with, and will always stand up for herslef and what she beleives in. I can't help but feel like in the end she'll show us all!
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Old 05-12-2005, 02:01 PM
 
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Although it can be so hard at times I too see my ds's spiritedness as a great gift that will be (and already is) a tremendous help to him throughout his life. Intense, passionate, awe inspiring, full of energy and emotion, his love of live and how deeply he experiences it are so beautiful to watch and share

Great idea for a thread
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Old 05-12-2005, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaialice
I always resisted calling my daughter by any other than her name, although by many books definitions, she would be labelled "spirited" or "high needs". I do not want to label her in any way.
Funny you should bring that up because that was my OTHER train of thought last night, about labeling with the "spririted" or "high maintenance" tag. That's probably a thread in and of itself. But I've definitely experienced the same resistance to using such labels (preconceptions, self-fulfilling prophecy, etc.) I think most folks with emotionally intense kids can relate to that hesitation.

Reading all these responses makes me realize that you all know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Rainbowbird said the word "sparkle", which paints a very fitting visual image of my little girl just shining out there in the crowd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
Seeing my little girl, not quite three, outright shout at a full grown man over six feet tall, or a group of adults all against her sometimes makes me very proud.
:LOL If I saw that, I think I'd have to say "You go, girl!" I think that's awesome. Maybe not always appropriate, but I think that's just a harnessing-the-power issue that will come in time. But you can't create spunk like that...it's there from the beginning or it's not. And I think it's especially exciting to see it in girls (much as I get excited about seeing nurturing sensitivity in boys).

I always think back to what dd's preschool teacher said one time (when dd was losing it). She said something like "her greatest challenges that she is facing now will become the foundation for her most powerful and enriching qualities as an adult". While it's true she has her moments when she makes her friends take cover from her fury, it is also true that she is often the one who is making all her friends laugh or inspiring them to stand up and dance or sing. She's like a magnet...depending on which way she's pointing, she's either drawing them in closer or repelling them away. And doing it with zest every time!

-di
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Old 05-12-2005, 05:41 PM
 
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I want to thank all who posted here for me now looking at my "spirited" 7 month old in a new light.
I have read "raising your spirited child" but am still struggling each day and fearing for what toddlerhood holds for him (and me).
I love him with all my heart and wil now get off this comp so I can hold him once again.
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Old 05-13-2005, 12:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
Seeing my little girl, not quite three, outright shout at a full grown man over six feet tall, or a group of adults all against her sometimes makes me very proud.

I know I should teach her to "be nice" and "handle her negative emotions", and some people even think she should be taught to do what she's told.

But I kinda feels like she kick's @$$.

You've gotta admit it takes spunk to stand up to someone 6 times your size, or a group of adults when you're a child.

I feel like she's never going to just go along with something she doesn't agree with, and will always stand up for herslef and what she beleives in. I can't help but feel like in the end she'll show us all!
This is what my 11 year old is like...spunky...the other day the teacher told her to write out lines(archaic or what) because she was talking/disruptive in class...she took her outside and yelled at her...then gave her the paper and pencil and told her to write out lines...intead she wrote a letter to the teacher "I was rude to you because you were rude to me. You yelled at me...yelling will not help the situation and will just make me yell back(which she did and got in more trouble) I do not respond to yelling...you are an adult, you should know better, what kind of example are you setting..." and on an on and on...but she put it on paper instead of writing the lines so she got in more trouble...it's just how she is...don't mess with her or she will tell you..she doesn't care that you are bigger or older or in a position of authority..she will tell you what for...I have to admit...I was pretty darn proud of her and told her so.

As she gets older I do notice she has more mature methods of holding on to her power..she writes letters, she emails..etc. etc. and she is learning not to name call though she does call the teacher "mrs. Bully"
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Old 05-13-2005, 03:27 PM
 
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I have a "spirited" 9.5 m.o. He takes after his mother, I have always been the loudmouthed one(often to my own detriment)- however that is how I am. I do nothing in moderation. All or nothing.

I wish everyone could see my child for the wonderful person he is. Right now we still get, oh he is soo happy and active. He is such an extrovert and lets his thoughts be known! However, I have started to get responses about how spoiled he is and "what a handfull." This makes me so sad, he is still a baby to me, although working on walking. I don't want to stifle him, I don't want to break his spirit. I want him to take all of the world in every day. However, I would like to guide him in positive ways of doing this and make sure he feels positive for the person he is. I have always felt great guilt for who I am, so I don't want to pass that on to him. It is odd having someone completely outside of yourself, which is so much of yourself.

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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Old 05-13-2005, 06:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mama
I have a "spirited" 9.5 m.o. He takes after his mother, I have always been the loudmouthed one(often to my own detriment)- however that is how I am. I do nothing in moderation. All or nothing.

I wish everyone could see my child for the wonderful person he is. Right now we still get, oh he is soo happy and active. He is such an extrovert and lets his thoughts be known! However, I have started to get responses about how spoiled he is and "what a handfull." This makes me so sad, he is still a baby to me, although working on walking. I don't want to stifle him, I don't want to break his spirit. I want him to take all of the world in every day. However, I would like to guide him in positive ways of doing this and make sure he feels positive for the person he is. I have always felt great guilt for who I am, so I don't want to pass that on to him. It is odd having someone completely outside of yourself, which is so much of yourself.
A 9.5 mo is still a baby, period.

Anyone who talks about a kid that young being either spoiled or a handful just doesn't know anything about kids.

Making thier needs known is an important skill in a baby. Babies who don't cry real loud for their mothers and for food are at a serious evolutionary disadvantage- in areas where food and resources are scarce.
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Old 05-13-2005, 08:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
But I kinda feels like she kick's @$$.
:LOL She DOES! I love this statement.

And I'm loving this thread!!! Dealing with a 3.5 yr. old who is so intense and persistent while carrying this new little dude inside me who NEVER stops moving has me tired and askeered!! :LOL I've been missing the big picture big time lately.

But, as my husband keeps reminding me--"Thank god we don't have 'blah' kids."

One of our neice's is so darn easy to deal with, but man, there is like no one home. Nice enough...just not really so much there, you know?
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Old 05-13-2005, 09:09 PM
 
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Great thread as I returned home from the park having followed DD 16 mo all over while she investigated trees, flowers, sticks, stones, dogs and everything else, and the other babies just sat on the blankets! Of course she was the only one throwing a tantrum because the park was not big enough and the road just not the best place to play!

Who stole my signature!
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Old 05-13-2005, 09:56 PM
 
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motherofshmoo, thanks! I am having a difficult time ignoring other's comments. I do get frustrated sometimes, however most of the time we just have a blast together. It seems that most everyone has such unrealistic expectations on lil' ones. We had a playdate with a 11.5 mo last week. Well, the other boy has a 7 yo sister. They of course were taking each other's toys, the sister made a comment about it. I said well they really don't understand how to share yet- the mom said well we will teach them then. I am thinking that this is pretty normal behavior, I didn't really see it as a problem, just try to redirect so they are both not trying to play with the same thing. Anyway, rambling- it is just hard when not everyone sees your spirited child as wonderful as you do- I guess that is how mommyhood is though. "children are to be seen not heard you know ....

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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Old 05-13-2005, 10:10 PM
 
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Destinye, My lil' guy already is an explorer as well. He screams when we come inside and wants to see everything. He never was a baby to lay on a blanket- it just baffles me that some babies do that- We call him the monkeyman- we have already figured out how to climb up the babygate, into the bathtub, up boxes, stairs, you name it!

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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Old 05-13-2005, 10:12 PM
 
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Maman here to a spirited 4yo. After reading "Raising Your Spirited Child" a few years ago, I mentioned the finer points to my DH. DH insisted that all babies are spirited unless their spirit has been "broken" so to speak. At the time I might have agreed a bit but now that I have another child who is spunky but not the spirited child that my first is, I believe that every baby is born with their own personality and it is our job to allow it to flourish and to revel in it
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Old 05-13-2005, 11:02 PM
 
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Crunchy_mama

I get irritated around moms of toddlers under 1 years old who apologize that their kids aren't sharing. It's like me apologizing that dd hasn't taken her SAT's yet. Of course you have to teach kids to share, and there's nothing wrong with introducing ideas as early as people feel like it. But just as you wouldn't expect an 18 month old to ride a bike, it's just not normal to expect kids to even understand the concept of sharing till at least 2 and a half or three. I'd say you can't really expect it till 4.

Most people really do expect too much of kids, especially babies.
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Old 05-13-2005, 11:13 PM
 
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everyone here has so many inspiring things to say! my ds has always been a very spirited/spunky/intense/passionate little being and i have been able to feel pretty comfortable with it unil lately. ds is getting older than most peoples "comfort level" of a screaming demanding opinionated child and for some reason, people expect a three/four year old to be an agreeable little being all the time (anyone else noticed this). well, i am having a hard time ignoring peoples reaction to my ds and not react to their reactions which makes everything worse. lately i cannot stop myself from thinking he is "rude" and one day i actually was so frustrated i said, "kaleb you are being a B-R-A-T" yes, i spellled it because i could not utter the word (although that is how i was feeling). well, ds thought it was hysterical and laughed for a few minutes and we both felt better. but i could not belive i even spelled that horrible word at my dear sweet little man! so, for a mama that is feeling very discouraged lately this is a very encouraging post and reminder!

mommy of schmoo, this summarizes my ds perfectly!!!

Seeing my little girl, not quite three, outright shout at a full grown man over six feet tall, or a group of adults all against her sometimes makes me very proud.

I know I should teach her to "be nice" and "handle her negative emotions", and some people even think she should be taught to do what she's told.

But I kinda feels like she kick's @$$.


now i just have t figure out how to teach my son how to handle his negative emotions without crushing his little spirit. hmm.....
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Old 05-13-2005, 11:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom
:LOL She DOES! I love this statement.

And I'm loving this thread!!! Dealing with a 3.5 yr. old who is so intense and persistent while carrying this new little dude inside me who NEVER stops moving has me tired and askeered!! :LOL I've been missing the big picture big time lately.

But, as my husband keeps reminding me--"Thank god we don't have 'blah' kids."

One of our neice's is so darn easy to deal with, but man, there is like no one home. Nice enough...just not really so much there, you know?
It's so funny, I know dh gets overwhelmed by dd sometimes and often wishes she'd argue less, be less sensitive, etc.

But every once in a while we hang out with a non-spirited kid and dh is like "wow, they're just kinda "there" aren't they." Dh doesn't know what to think.

I'm not at all trying to flame mellow kids- I'm sure they are very nice and have all kinds of complexity that is less in-your-face than spirited kids.

But I think sometimes intense parents get intense kids (that's pretty much us.) The people I know with mellow kids are mellower than us. Spirited kids are a hoot and I can't imagine a mellow child holding their own in our family.

My dd's dad is very mellow so there must be a gener for it somewhere- maybe we'll see it next time around.
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Old 05-14-2005, 01:38 AM
 
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thanks for sharing your wisdom

beth
SAHM mom to anderson 22 mos and madeline 4.75
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